Dear Miles,

**Originally written 2/22/15

I spend most of my time writing about Chase and therapies and diets and all things Autism related, but this past week “snowed in” has gotten me thinking about Miles. Albeit whiney and attention craving (what two and half year old isn’t?), I’ve realized what all he has to put up with and how mature beyond his age he really is…so this post is for you Miles!

Dear Miles,

From the moment we found out we were pregnant with you we were thrilled with the idea of having a sibling so close in age with Chase (you would be 23 months apart)! Having both had brothers and sisters so close in age, your dad I wanted the same for Chase (and for you). When we found out that you were a boy, and that Chase was going to have a little brother, we were even more excited!

This was all before the reality of Autism crept in to our lives.

We had dreams of you two being best friends, playing sports together, being close throughout school, fighting over girls…typical dreams, of typical parents and typical families. But our life is not typical. As we counted down the days to your delivery, the realization of Chase’s Autism also kicked in, and those dreams quickly shifted.

The months after you were born were both joyful and heartbreaking. We took in every moment with you, getting to know you, and feeling the love in our hearts expand from one child to two. But the reality that Chase would not dote on or notice his new little brother was always lurking. He cried every time you cried. He did not want to hold you or touch you or want anything to do with you. He didn’t know how to. He didn’t understand. Those dreams of you two being best of friends felt shattered.

As time went by and you grew and developed and became mobile, you followed Chase all over the house. You wanted to do everything your big brother did. Play with everything he played with. You just wanted to be near him, have his attention, if even for a few seconds. You didn’t get it often, but you never gave up. You never stopped trying and you never got upset when Chase turned and ran the other way.

As hard as it was, and still is, to watch sometimes, we are beginning to realize what an amazing little soul you are. God has a big plan for your life and it started with being Chase’s little brother. We see you grow and develop in to a super smart little boy. You are full of personality and humor. You are relentless in your attempts to get Chase’s attention, and you never give up on trying to engage with him, get him to play, give him affection. You are the BEST built-in peer model any child with Autism could hope for!

It has gotten better with time. Chase has warmed up to you. He actually pays attention to you now and laughs with you, wrestles with you, lays in bed with you, lets you hold his hand, and hugs you back! It warms our hearts to see the bond you two are forming, in your own little unique way. And the empathy you are learning through your personal experiences at home is something we could have never taught you.

Miles, you are one amazing little boy! You are so sensitive and caring. So loving and gentle. I sometimes cringe at the level of maturity you have had to rise to at such a young age, but I know God has put you in our lives for a special reason and that you will do wonderful things as you go through life. You get away with a lot more than I like to admit, but you also deal with way more than most two and half year olds should have to deal with at your age.

You are a true blessing dear sweet Miles and I thank God EVERY day for both you and Chase and all the amazing things you teach your dad and me!

xoxo

Photo cred: Kristen Reed

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